Friday, August 26, 2011

Genesis 36

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

As we come to chapter 36, the genealogy of Esau’s family, we are tempted to skip over it, because the names are impossible to pronounce, and we would really need a visual family tree to grasp it! To be perfectly honest, we might all be thinking, “Why is this in here? Do I need to read this???” So, I’m thanking Jon Courson, who starts his commentary of this chapter with the above reminder from Paul to Timothy: ALL scripture is God-breathed. Not some of it. Not just the parts that agree with my viewpoint. Not just the “words in red” of Jesus. ALL of it! If the Creator and Sustainer of the universe can’t keep His Word uncorrupted, then how can He possibly be of help to us?

Even when Paul,himself, says, “These are my thoughts not God’s,” (I Cor 7:12), his words were purposefully included in the scripture to give us a better understanding of Paul. While the books are all God-breathed, they were written by men who had distinct personalities and voices, which in my mind is further proof of their authenticity. Anyway, all this to say that God included genealogies in scripture to teach us! They certainly provide historical context, but they also help explain other passages - and they teach us lessons.

Coincidentally, (I actually believe it was a God-incident rather than a coincident), my pastor is teaching from Romans all this year, and this past Sunday he was teaching from Romans 9, which is about the sovereign choices of God, specifically in choosing Israel. Within that choice, God has made more specific choices as He narrowed the group from which the Messiah would come. He chose Isaac over Ishmael, even though Ishmael was the firstborn. He chose Jacob over Esau. In fact, Paul quotes Malachi 1:2-3 to prove his point: “Jacob I have loved, but Esau I hated.” (Rom 9:13) Those are strong words, but Genesis 36 gives us insight into why God would sovereignly choose Jacob over Esau - because Jacob chose God, while Esau turned his back on God. Here’s the tension of predestination vs. free will of man. The Bible doesn’t explain it - just affirms that they both work together somehow...

This is the account of Esau (that is, Edom).

Esau took his wives from the women of Canaan: Adah daughter of Elon the Hittite, and Oholibamah daughter of Anah and granddaughter of Zibeon the Hivite— also Basemath daughter of Ishmael and sister of Nebaioth. (Gen 36:1-3)

Esau chose women who were pagan and had no part in the promises of God, including Basemuth, the daughter of Ishmael. While he had much in the way of material goods (vs.6-7), he lacked a relationship with God. This family became the nation of Edom, the enemy of Israel, who settled in a desert region southwest of Jerusalem. They harassed the Israelites, even cheering when they were conquered and taken into captivity by Babylon. In fact, the Edomites went in and looted Judah afterward. The book of Obadiah is a prophetic pronouncement of judgement against the Edomites, “because of the violence against your brother Jacob.” (Obadiah vs.10) God is very clear that an enemy of Israel is an enemy of God!

Jon Courson points out that while Jacob represents the spiritual side of man, Edom is a type of the flesh in scripture. And our flesh is always at war with God! It never ceases to amaze me how one family (Abraham’s or Isaac’s) can produce both godly and ungodly progeny. In Genesis 12:2-3, God promises Abraham, “I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all of the peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” However, in Obadiah vs. 2, God indeed curses Edom: “See, I will make you small among the nations; you will be utterly despised.”

And where is Edom today??? When was the last time you met an Edomite? The last time they had any prominence was in Jesus’ day. King Herod’s family was from this line. But after the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD, they vanished from history. Yet, God preserved His people, the Jews - those He sovereignly chose - even though they were scattered throughout the world. He has brought them back together as a nation again. Proof that God’s Word is true and that He fulfills His Word. The fact that Israel is at the epicenter of the world’s focus even today - that this tiny nation is surrounded by nations waiting to annihilate her - is all part of God’s great Plan. We watch on tiptoe as events unfold in the Middle East. Surely His promise of the LORD’s return is near!

So, even if you can’t get interested in who bore whom in Esau’s line, at least you now know how Esau’s descendants figure into God’s story of His people. And you can see how the way we treat Israel matters! It’s surely relevant in our time! We need to pray that our nation will never turn its back on Israel, or, like the Edomites, we will be cursed!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Genesis 35:16-29

I need to confess something! I have been having the hardest time getting back to this study!! Have you ever noticed that when we get out of the habit of daily Bible study or if we skip church for a couple of weeks, it is SO hard to get back! I was thinking that the reason I was having a hard time was because I just wasn’t feeling any inspiration from this chapter – or that I was just having trouble finding time with Don being home all of the time.

But yesterday it struck me that it wasn’t a matter of inspiration – it was a matter of OBEDIENCE! God wants to speak to us DAILY – He is not looking for weekly check-ups or quarterlies or annual reports on how we’re doing. He wants a DAILY, minute-by-minute, present tense relationship with us. And the way He speaks to us is through His timeless Word! I have missed it! So rather than wait for any “inspiration,” I’m going to plow ahead, trusting that He will give me whatever He wants me to glean from this chapter!

Genesis 35 is filled with sorrowful events. In verse 8, we read of the death of Rebekah’s nurse, Deborah. Now Deborah had most likely been with Rebekah since she was a child and had come with her when she married Isaac. This meant she would have been something like a surrogate grandmother to Jacob as he was growing up, so surely this was a huge personal loss to him.

Then soon after Jacob suffers a worse, unexpected loss, when Rachel dies in childbirth. In Genesis 30:1, Rachel pleaded with Jacob, “Give me children or I’ll die!” Indeed, it was in bearing her second son that she DID die:

Then they moved on from Bethel. While they were still some distance from Ephrath, Rachel began to give birth and had great difficulty. And as she was having great difficulty in childbirth, the midwife said to her, “Don’t be afraid, for you have another son.” As she breathed her last—for she was dying—she named her son Ben-Oni. But his father named him Benjamin. So Rachel died and was buried on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem). Over her tomb Jacob set up a pillar, and to this day that pillar marks Rachel’s tomb. (Gen 35:16-20)

Rachel, the love of Jacob’s life, was gone. With her last breath, she gave her new baby the name Ben-Oni, which means son of my trouble. Jacob (deceiver, conniver, heel-grabber) knew only too well the power of a name to shape a child in negative ways, so he immediately renamed the baby Benjamin, meaning son of my right hand. Good thinking, Jacob! We are given few details, but certainly, Jacob mourned the loss of Rachel!

Just when you think it can’t get any worse, we read of a vile act by Jacob’s firstborn, Reuben:

Israel moved on again and pitched his tent beyond Migdal Eder. While Israel was living in that region, Reuben went in and slept with his father’s concubine Bilhah, and Israel heard of it. (vs. 21-22)

Are you kidding me? Doesn’t this sound like an episode of Days of Our Lives ?? Now, we aren’t told what motivated Reuben’s act of incest, but Beth Moore speculates that it could have been an act of rebellion and defiance toward Jacob. Possibly Reuben was challenging his father’s authority. Or maybe it was just an impulsive act of lust. It’s interesting to note that Jacob is referred to as Israel in these verses – possibly because he does not react in his old nature. This is not to say that Reuben did not suffer consequences. When the dying Jacob is handing out the patriarchal blessings on his sons (Gen 49:3-4), Reuben is told he would no longer “excel” because of this event.

Finally, with sorrow upon sorrow, Jacob loses his father, Isaac:

Jacob came home to his father Isaac in Mamre, near Kiriath Arba (that is, Hebron), where Abraham and Isaac had stayed. Isaac lived a hundred and eighty years. Then he breathed his last and died and was gathered to his people, old and full of years. And his sons Esau and Jacob buried him. (vs. 27-29).

I’m struck by the fact that these losses come on the heels of each other, one right after another. It seems like more than one man can bear. Talk about having your life shaken! Yet, we saw at the beginning of this chapter (verses 9-15) that because God knew what was up ahead for Jacob, He appeared to him to encourage him and strengthen him. Note that after each one, we are told that Jacob “moved on.” That is the task of those who mourn, isn’t it?

The other thing that stood out was the fact that so little is said about the details of the death of the patriarch, Isaac. There’s no lengthy obituary or eulogy – no details about the mourning. “…he breathed his last and died…” That’s it! And that reminded me of a treasure of a verse:

Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints. (Psalm 116:15)

As each of these special loved ones died, leaving Jacob in a heap of sorrow, God was on the other side welcoming them with a “Woo-hoo! You are home at last!” (I don’t know that God would shout “Woo-hoo!”, but I’m certain He is excited to see His own) That is great encouragement when we are grieving. Next Saturday I will be attending the fifth funeral I’ve been to since March. All of these dear people died too young in my mind (29, 35, 58, 63, and 70), and I’m numb with the shock of it all. But I KNOW that God rejoiced to usher them into eternity.

It feels great to be back in God’s Word!!!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Genesis 35:9-15

My goodness, we have a world that is shaking! The stock market is nosediving after the downgrading of U.S. credit; video of rioting and looting and burning in the streets of London and throughout the world is all over the news; we suffered the tragic loss of the 30+ soldiers and Navy Seals this week in Afghanistan; personal friends and family are dealing with catastrophic health issues and the loss of loved ones. Many friends and neighbors are losing their homes to foreclosure. This year we watched in shock as Japan was shaken to its very core by the earthquake and tsunami, political leaders across the Middle East were thrown out, and parts of the U.S. were ripped apart by tornadoes and floods. In Norway we saw scores of people senselessly gunned down by a madman. In Texas they are suffering from a paralyzing drought and excessive, record-setting heat. In Somalia thousands of people are days away from starvation. We just witnessed an appalling lack of political leadership and will as the members of Congress, on both sides of the aisle, once again, refused to do what they need to do - then went on vacation in search of funds for the next election! And Israel stands alone in the middle of enemies who seek to destroy her. What is going on??? Ye gads! LORD, please come quickly!!!

Surely we are in scary times! But this is just what the LORD told us would happen before His return (see Matthew 24 and Luke 21). Could it be far away? One thing is certain: it is closer today than it was yesterday. So, how then do we live? How do we show ourselves to be different from the world? We are to be people of hope. We are to be looking up for our redemption. More than ever we need to claim and demonstrate that peace that passes all understanding. How can we do it? Because our God will never be shaken, therefore, we can remain unshaken! What is it that is currently shaking your world? Is it financial disaster? Marital trouble or even divorce? Cancer? Job loss? The end of a friendship? Take comfort in the following verses:

I have set the LORD always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. (Psalm 16:8)

He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken... He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. (Psalm 62:2,6)

And here is the one I love the most:

Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the LORD, who has compassion on you. (Isaiah 54:10)

Though everything around us is falling apart, He will NEVER be shaken in His love for us! His unfailing love endures forever!!! He does NOT forget His covenants, and in today’s passage from Genesis 35, He reminds Jacob of His covenant with him:

After Jacob returned from Paddan Aram, God appeared to him again and blessed him. God said to him, “Your name is Jacob, but you will no longer be called Jacob; your name will be Israel.” So he named him Israel.

And God said to him, “I am God Almighty; be fruitful and increase in number. A nation and a community of nations will come from you, and kings will come from your body. The land I gave to Abraham and Isaac I also give to you, and I will give this land to your descendants after you.” Then God went up from him at the place where he had talked with him.

Jacob set up a stone pillar at the place where God had talked with him, and he poured out a drink offering on it; he also poured oil on it. Jacob called the place where God had talked with him Bethel. (Gen 35:9-15)

Jon Courson points out that in this passage God reminds Jacob that he has been given by God a “personal name,” [going from Jacob, the con man to Israel, the one who struggles with God], he has been promised “personal fame,” [he’ll be fruitful and powerful], and he has been guaranteed the land as a “perpetual claim.” [Don’t you love three-point outlines??? :) ]

Beth Moore notes that Jacob, who has acknowledged at this point that his focus needs to be on the God of the House of God, has been reintroduced in this encounter to God as El Shaddai, or God Almighty. She writes, “A new season is coming in which Jacob would need to know above all things that he was a changed man. He needed to be certain that God was his mighty mountain, and His promises were true. Maybe you need to know the same thing today. No matter what trial rocks your house or what crisis erupts within it, ask the God of your house to stand up and show Himself mighty. He alone builds a house that cannot be moved.” (The Patriarchs, Pg. 162)

Are we in the midst of a new season in our world? It certainly seems so! While it can be scary to see the world as we knew it unravel, we can be completely certain that our God Almighty holds it in His secure hands. He is still in control, He is moving things into place as part of His master plan, and we know that we will not be shaken.

I was looking at a video today of a lone black man in London who was standing up to the looters and calling them out for their hypocrisy. I wondered, would I stand up like that? Then I realized, the time is coming when we will HAVE to stand up. We will have to be courageous - something that is only possible in the strength of the LORD. We need to be preparing our minds and our hearts for the days ahead. We need to put on the whole armor of God DAILY if we are going to be ready, whether for a global crisis or a personal one. 


Sunday, August 7, 2011

Genesis 35:5-7

I need to take a second to explain why I’ve been so absent this summer! It occurred to me the other day that, since my husband retired in April, this is the FIRST summer in 41 years (when we were dating) that Don and I have both had the summer off together! And it has been so much fun just hanging out together and enjoying a “stay-cation” in beautiful Southern California. Now that he’s retired, there is no money for the fancy vacations, so it’s a good thing we live here! Anyway, we’ve been sailing, kayaking, walking, reading, using gift cards to eat out, watching the sunset from the cliffs at the Montage Resort in Laguna Beach, going to the Getty, to the SD Zoo, to baseball games, visiting with family and friends - just having a blast dating again! And we’ve been enjoying the grandkids (pool, circus, beach, sleepovers...)!

I’ve been reminded too many times this year that life is precious and uncertain (just went to a memorial service for a dear friend yesterday - the second memorial service I’ve attended this summer and the fourth this year), so we are not taking a minute for granted. We celebrate our 40th anniversary at the end of the month, and I am amazed that the time has flown by so quickly! Anyway, all this is to say why I have been remiss in my study time with you. Be assured, I am still READING and keeping up with other devotionals - just have not been writing... So sorry!

You’ll be glad to see that I’m only going to focus on three verses today!

Then they set out, and the terror of God fell upon the towns all around them so that no one pursued them.

Jacob and all the people with him came to Luz (that is, Bethel) in the land of Canaan. There he built an altar, and he called the place El Bethel, because it was there that God revealed himself to him when he was fleeing from his brother. (Gen 35:5-7)

As Jacob and his family moved on and returned to Bethel, the place where he first encountered God in a personal way, note that they were protected on their journey, even though the neighboring people had good reason to attack them. God is our defense! He is our Rock, our Shield, our Fortress - whom shall we fear??? Even if everyone in the world were against us, God is always for us, and that’s all we need!

Now, the thing that jumped out to me about this chapter (thanks to Jon Courson, bless his heart), is what Jacob renames Bethel. He calls it El Bethel, which means The God of Bethel, or, literally, The God of the House of God. As Courson says, this points out a maturing of Jacob’s faith and spiritual understanding. Courson writes, . . .Jacob understands that it’s not the house of God that is important, but the God who dwells therein. So, too, it’s not the worship that’s important, but the God whom we worship. It’s not the Bible that’s important, but the God of the Bible. You see, the Word is not an end in itself. The goal of Bible study is not to try and gain more intellectual or theological understanding. It’s much more than that. The Word of God is simply a door I go through many times a day to meet the God of the Word. (Courson, P.161)

I know we know this intellectually, but so many time we get hung up on the study itself when the purpose of studying should be to get to know God better - not to stuff our heads full of Biblical knowledge. Being somewhat of a Nicodemus myself (see John 3:1-21), I tend to really love the intellectual stimulation of Bible study - for truly it is exciting and challenging and so interesting! And wouldn’t Satan just love it if that’s all it was for me?

It’s not enough to know ABOUT God - even the demons know about Him! That knowledge is NOT what saves us and causes us to grow. It’s the interaction with the God revealed to us in the Bible that matters - getting to know Him more intimately. That is our eternal purpose. In his prayer to His Father, just prior to His arrest, Jesus revealed the key to eternal life:  Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. (John 17:3)  He’s what we need - He’s the Beginning and the End - everything we will ever need and more! He isn’t just the Giver - He’s the Gift!

There is a temptation of losing our focus when we enter the house of God. It’s easy for it to become all about the fellowship with others rather than with God. Or we can be so focused on the worship music that we love (or critique) that we forget about the object of our worship. So, when we go to the House of God, we need to remain focused on the God of the House of God! Jacob had finally learned this! And he built an altar there to worship the God who had made Himself known to Jacob when he was at a moment of great need. I have a new resolve today to come to the study of His Word seeking the Word Himself - and praying that way as I begin. LORD, I don’t just want to know ABOUT You - I want to KNOW YOU!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Genesis 35:1-4

What we saw in chapter 34 was a family catastrophe that Beth Moore describes as a volcanic eruption. She says, and I agree, that the eruption from within was not Dinah’s rape, but the “homicidal rage” of the brothers that made Jacob’s family “stink to high heaven.” This precipitated the need for a move – for a new start in new surroundings. Beth writes, “ All sorts of scenarios can constitute eruption in a seemingly solid family: the sudden exposure of an extramarital affair, a teen pregnancy, or the DUI of a trusted family member. Even a call from a principal’s office informing a parent that a child was caught cheating on a test can feel like an eruption.” (The Partiarchs, P.160)

Indeed, these kinds of things may often lead to some kind of major move. In this case, it’s interesting that the idea for the move seems to come from God:

Then God said to Jacob, “Go up to Bethel and settle there, and build an altar there to God, who appeared to you when you were fleeing from your brother Esau.” (Gen 35:1)

Jon Courson, in his commentary, focuses on God’s response to Jacob. He notes that God does not say to Jacob – “You have blown it! I’m setting you aside and canceling all of my promises!” Nor does He tell Jacob to go through a bunch of religious rituals in order to make atonement. Instead, our God of unlimited mercy and grace calls Jacob to get up and go back to where it all began – to where he first met the God of his fathers – to where he was essentially “saved.” He tells Jacob to go to Bethel.

So Jacob immediately turns to his family and tells them it’s time to clean up their act:

So Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, “Get rid of the foreign gods you have with you, and purify yourselves and change your clothes. Then come, let us go up to Bethel, where I will build an altar to God, who answered me in the day of my distress and who has been with me wherever I have gone.” (vs. 2-3)

Now the thing that Jon Courson points out here, that I just love, is that Jacob doesn’t ask his family to clean up in order to please God. Read what he writes:

Notice God didn’t say to Jacob, “If you deal with the pagan gods in your family, then I might give you a second chance.” No, God said, “Rise and let us go to Bethel.” [KJV] Perhaps it was because Jacob was so amazed by this that he said, “It’s time to clean up – not so God will call us, but because He has called us.” (Old Testament Commentary, Volume 1, P. 160)

That is the appropriate response to grace! We obey not to gain His love, but in response to His love (I John 4:19). It’s not what we give up that causes God to call us, rather His call on our lives causes us to pull away from the world with its distractions and pagan “gods.”

I don’t know about you, but this so excites me! We have just seen Jacob’s family commit genocide on the Shechemites, and yet God still offers this family His love and grace! God is not through with this family; He’s only just beginning His work in them.  But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8) It never ceases to amaze me!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Genesis 34:24-31

One last look at this most difficult chapter! The violent rape of Dinah begets more violence. It was bad enough that Shechem defiled Dinah, but he then refused to acknowledge any wrongdoing. That was compounded when he turned the marriage proposal into a business deal to benefit his family! So we can certainly understand the fury of Dinah’s brothers. However, the course of vengeance that Simeon and Levi chose was over the top!

All the men who went out of the city gate agreed with Hamor and his son Shechem, and every male in the city was circumcised.

Three days later, while all of them were still in pain, two of Jacob’s sons, Simeon and Levi, Dinah’s brothers, took their swords and attacked the unsuspecting city, killing every male. They put Hamor and his son Shechem to the sword and took Dinah from Shechem’s house and left. The sons of Jacob came upon the dead bodies and looted the city where their sister had been defiled. They seized their flocks and herds and donkeys and everything else of theirs in the city and out in the fields. They carried off all their wealth and all their women and children, taking as plunder everything in the houses. (Gen 34:24-29)

This was a wholesale slaughter! Simeon and Levi slew the men in a bloodbath. Their brothers caught up with them, and, seeing what Simeon and Levi had done, they, too, went on a rampage, plundering the city and taking all of the possessions and family members of Hamor’s tribe. Here’s the thing that stands out to me: today, when we hear of tribal killings in the Middle East, it’s generally by means of explosions. There is no personal involvement with the killing (although the end result is the same). In these murders, Simeon and Levi had to get face to face with all of these men. Imagine the rage and, frankly, the mess! I’m focusing on that, because somehow the words “killing every male,” don’t convey the horror of what they did in taking out vengeance themselves.

When they arrived home, Jacob could immediately see what they had done. Here’s The Message translation of Jacob’s response:

Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, "You've made my name stink to high heaven among the people here, these Canaanites and Perizzites. If they decided to gang up on us and attack, as few as we are we wouldn't stand a chance; they'd wipe me and my people right off the map."

They said, "Nobody is going to treat our sister like a whore and get by with it." (vs.30-31)

The need for justice is something we can all relate to. All us at some time in our life have cried out for justice. Whether it was a desire for personal justice because of a something unfair done to us, or the collective need for justice in cases like the O.J. Simpson or Casey Anthony trials. That need for justice is universal, because it’s a value that comes from our Just God. And here’s where the brothers blew it big time: they did not trust God for the justice. Now, many times God uses men to carry out His justice, but it really bothers me (am I alone?) that there was no seeking of God here. God did not tell them to go slaughter the Shechemites. They acted out of their own rage. We’ll see in chapter 49, when the dying Jacob blesses his sons, that Simeon and Levi suffered consequences for these actions.

This was a brutal chapter. Why did God want us to read it? Well, it does lead up to some of the history of Israel, which we’ll see later. But I think there is another reason God wanted us to have this chapter in scripture: it’s surely a warning to parents about being a “hands-on” parent. Jacob should have made sure that Dinah never went anywhere alone. It was his job to protect her – or to have her brothers watch over her, since she was coming of age. Doe this mean Jacob was to blame for Dinah’s rape? Certainly NOT! That falls completely on Shechem only! Even the most vigilant of parents cannot prevent the effects of a fallen world impacting the lives of their children. 

I’ll never forget the time I let my eight year old daughter go off in a car for the entire day with a new friend and her nanny (20-ish), whom I had just met, to go to the Orange County Fair!!! What was I thinking??? Immediately after they left it struck me, and I spent the entire day worrying and praying (do those go together?) for Emmy’s safety (this was before cell phones, so there was no way to contact them throughout the day and evening)! We ALL do these stupid things occasionally. But parents can and should take preventative steps of protection for their children that may lessen the likelihood of danger.

It’s not good enough to be reactive – parents must intentionally think through their parenting and have a PLAN. From the time your baby girl is born, you should have in place a plan for every eventuality you can reasonably think through – at what age she can start dating (and HOLD to it), your expectations for her while she is living under your authority (church attendance, college, chastity, no alcohol, etc.). Too many parents take the attitude, “Oh, they are all drinking and having sex!” REALLY??? I’ve actually had parents tell me that if their teenage son is going to drink, they want them doing it at home, so their intention is to provide it!!! Hello, people, it’s ILLEGAL!

Then, I’m wondering if things would have been different if Jacob had taken control of the situation after the rape – it seems to me that he should have held a family meeting to discuss and pray about what they should do. I realize I’m guilty here of judging Jacob – not my place!!! I have NO idea how I would have reacted. The reality is that in the heat of such a horrific event, we all might react exactly as these boys did. We have it in us!

What can we do to instill in our children an absolute faith in our Father to take care of vengeance? We need to believe it ourselves and model it. Had they sought Him, God may have actually sent the boys out to take vengeance in His name – I don’t know. He certainly directed the Israelites to do that at times. This chapter leaves me with more questions than answers. But one thing I know: I’m so glad that GOD is the One who metes out justice! Because He is holy and righteous, I know I can trust Him to make all things right. In fact, I’m sure I’ll be part of the great multitude in heaven shouting, “Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God, for true and just are his judgments.” (Rev 19:1-2)